Thursday, April 19, 2012

Diamonds Part 3: Clarity

As I gear up for a trip to a diamond grading lab class at the Gemological Institute of America, it seems like the perfect time to be doing a marathon rock review on diamonds. What makes these tiny rocks worth thousands, even millions of dollars to us? Is it all part of an incredible marketing plan by giant corporations with diamond interests? Perhaps there really is something to it.

The diamond is a gem fascinating from all perspectives. To begin with, a diamond is composed entirely from carbon, the building block of life. It is the only gem whose chemical makeup is so pure. That is precisely why the clarity of a given gem has a monumental effect on the value of that gem. Clarity characteristics represent something that got stuck in the crystal as it was being formed. Some clarity characteristics are tiny crystals of other types of gem, some are graphite, and yet others are simply cracks in the crystal structure. Regardless, they take away from the notion that this gem is one of the rare examples of pure, perfect carbon atoms connecting in elegant succession to create the most durable substance known to man.

The truth is, that most of the diamond mined do not represent diamonds in such a romantic way. After a mine has started operations after billions of dollars in investment, tons and tons of diamonds are mined which are so heavily included that they would not even resemble what you think of as a diamond. Less than 20% of diamonds mined worldwide each year approach gem-quality. Low grade rough is used industrially.

In case you are reading with the intention of diamond shopping, I will include below a chart which expresses the different grades of clarity as they pertain to Gem-quality diamonds.

If you are diamond shopping, be aware that flawless and internally flawless diamonds are so very rare, that they are unattainable for most of us. This chart is showing an a large, elementary scale what the clarity grades mean, but remember that 10 times magnification is a lot, and even under this magnification, many characteristics are only visible by a person trained to know what to look for. I encourage you to shop for diamonds that are graded with a certification from the Gemological Institute of America. That certification gives you proof of what it is that you are purchasing. That assurance is difficult to get in any other way. If you need a diamond buying coach, maybe I can help. feel free to email me--

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